Purdue Pharma settlements a window into U.S. opioid crisis

The DePaulia | October 21, 2019

After more than 2,600 lawsuits nationwide involving their role in the opioid epidemic sweeping through the country, Purdue Pharma — the manufacturer of prescription painkiller OxyContin — filed for bankruptcy Sept. 16. In 2017, opioids were responsible for 47,600 of the 70,237 U.S. drug overdose deaths — with more than 28,000 of these opioid-related deaths being attributed to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. From 1999 to 2017, more than 400,000 Americans have died from opioid overdoses. The declaration of bankruptcy followed a tentative $10 to $12 billion settlement with 27 states and thousands of cities and counties throughout the nation — with nearly 20 other states rejecting the terms of the settlement. Dr. Richard Blondell, physician and vice chair for addiction medicine at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, said the company’s heavy marketing downplaying the addictive nature of OxyContin helped start the epidemic. “They promoted this drug heavily,” Blondell said. “I can remember representatives coming around with little bags, pens and clocks. They had a clock that just had 12 on there to remind us to prescribe it every 12 hours. The older physicians said, ‘Boy don’t listen to them. They don’t know what they’re talking about, these are addictive drugs,’ — and it turns out those old, family doctors were right.” Dr. Steven Aks, immersive physician and head of toxicology at Cook County Health, said it’s important to distinguish that there are two “faces” to the current opioid epidemic: pharmaceutical pills and street drugs.

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Data analytics in pharma has altered the way pharmaceuticals were a few years back. In the current era of industry 4.0, big data analytics compelled enterprises to make decisions discriminatively because Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning prove themselves.


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BUSINESS INSIGHTS, PHARMA TECH

Aequus Announces Health Canada Notice of Compliance (NOC) for Zimed® Preservative Free (Bimatoprost 0.03%)

Aequus Pharmaceuticals | December 21, 2022

Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. is pleased to announce that Health Canada has approved Zimed® PF for the reduction of elevated intraocular pressure in patients with open-angled glaucoma or ocular hypertension. Affecting more than 700,000 people in Canada, glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in North America. Zimed® PF is the first prostaglandin analog that is preservative free and offered in an easy-to-use multi-dose bottle in Canada. PGAs are commonly prescribed first-line to reduce IOP. The vast majority of medications currently available include preservatives such as Benzalkonium Chloride. Chronic exposure to BAK has been found to increase the likelihood of experiencing Ocular Surface Disease and reduce patient adherence. “We have heard from the eyecare professionals that there is a need for preservative-free alternatives. The PGA market continues to grow year-over-year and we are excited to provide a new option for Canadian health care providers and their patients.” Grant Larsen, CCO of Aequus Pharma Zimed PF is contained in a unique multi-dose bottle that leverages a unidirectional valve and air filter technology to eliminates the need for a preservatives. In addition, this packaging format significantly reduces the amount of plastic used compared to single-use alternatives. “Medicom is excited by this news and looks forward to launching Zimed® PF in the Canadian market with Aequus,” says Simon Martin, CEO of Medicom. “Globally we have seen the strong uptake for Zimed® PF and pleased it will soon be available to Canadian patients.” Doug Janzen, CEO of Aequus Pharma said, “We want to thank Medicom for their support through the approval process with Health Canada. This is our third product we’ve brought to Canada in this partnership. We look forward to launching Zimed® PF in 2023 and providing Canadians with more treatment options.” ABOUT AEQUUS PHARMACEUTICALS INC. Aequus Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing and commercializing high quality, differentiated products. Aequus has grown its sales and marketing efforts to include several commercial products in ophthalmology and optometry. Aequus plans to build on its Canadian commercial platform through the launch of additional products that are either created internally or brought in through an acquisition or license, remaining focused on highly specialized therapeutic areas.

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PHARMA TECH

Three iA Employees Honored with Top Women in Health Awards

iA | November 18, 2022

iA, a provider of software-enabled pharmacy fulfillment and automation solutions, celebrated three of its employees being recognized at Drug Store News’ Fourth Annual Top Women in Health, Wellness & Beauty Awards held in Chicago, Illinois. Rachael Clark, Vice President of Commercial Sales, received a Rising Star award. As Vice President of Commercial Sales, Rachael works with large-scale retail chain grocery stores, mainstream pharmacies, and digital pharmacies, as well as independent mom-and-pop operations. Rachael is responsible for a team of account executives that work to promote iA’s technology across North America and globally by developing long-term strategies, while also organizing and maintaining sales operations. Bobbi Jamriska, Senior Vice President, Product Management, received an award for Business Excellence. Bobbi leads the Product Management team at iA that is responsible for the iA portfolio of solutions, where she manages the strategy, development, and go-to-market planning. She has been a pharmacy tech for 12 years, and has led global product management initiatives as well as new product development experiences. Stacey Weber, Senior Director of Customer Operations, received an award for Business Excellence. Stacey oversees the customer support division, where she manages a team of 35 remote technicians who assist customers in using iA’s Rx fulfillment solutions, which include automated prescription filling robots and innovative warehouse management systems. In addition to ensuring customers receive timely and helpful assistance, she also oversees standardization and process improvement for iA’s call center and for the customers that use iA solutions. “We are incredibly proud of our team members. Rachael, Bobbi, and Stacey all represent the best of iA, and we are very lucky to be able to work with them every day.” Tom Utech, President and Chief Operating Officer About iA iA is a leading-edge provider of software-enabled pharmacy fulfillment solutions. With over 30 years in pharmacy fulfillment, iA has invented and developed a suite of software-driven pharmacy automation solutions. From NEXiA software to automated modular hardware and sophisticated counting and collation devices, iA pharmacy automation solutions and technology empower pharmacists. iA can run the prescription fulfillment process from end to end, helping pharmacies manage fulfillment and inventory to help lower costs, improve efficiency and provide comprehensive Rx tracking and real-time support.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS, PHARMA TECH

MTTI Receives Chinese Patent for EVATHERA Technology

Molecular Targeting Technologies, Inc. | December 07, 2022

Molecular Targeting Technologies, Inc. announces the issuance of Chinese Patent CN109153641B covering MTTI’s lead radiotherapeutic product, EBTATE™ and others in its EvaThera™ platform. Approval of “Chemical conjugates of Evans blue derivatives and their use as radiotherapeutic and imaging agents” follows issued patents in the US, Europe, Singapore, and Japan this past year. EBTATE is a new generation of peptide receptor radiotherapeutic drug that has demonstrated potential clinical superiority over standard of care. It selectively targets and binds to somatostatin receptor 2 on neuroendocrine and other tumors, which are then killed by the radionuclide. EvaThera platform products were designed to bind to serum albumin, due to the Evans blue moiety, extending in vivo residence time, enabling lower, less frequent dosing of the radiopharmaceutical and reducing risk of renal injury vs. the current standard of care. Our recent 3-year follow-up report on a 30-patient, ex-US, EBTATE study showed stable disease with progression-free survival of 43 months after three cycles of EBTATE. EBTATE treatment is effective and less toxic for neuroendocrine tumor patients. * “This complements our IP portfolio, further protecting our EvaThera platform.” He added, “We’re continuing to bolster our position in radiotheranostics with planned clinical trials of our two platform products in multiple indications.” Chris Pak, MTTI’s President & CEO About Molecular Targeting Technologies, Inc. Molecular Targeting Technologies, Inc., is a privately held, rapidly growing, well financed, clinical-stage biotech company developing next-generation targeted radiotherapeutics and diagnostics for rare cancers. We are committed to building value by acquiring and translating innovative imaging, radiopharmaceutical and theranostics assets to improve human health, reduce healthcare costs and reward stakeholders. MTTI expects to be orchestrating multiple clinical trials in 2023.

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BUSINESS INSIGHTS, PHARMACY MARKET

Phio Pharmaceuticals Announces New Clinical Program to Study PH-762 for the Treatment of Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp. | December 22, 2022

Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp., today announced it expects to file an IND in the US in the first half of 2023 for a Phase 1b clinical trial of its INTASYL™ compound, PH-762. Phio is a clinical stage biotechnology company whose proprietary INTASYL self-delivering RNAi technology is designed to make immune cells more effective in killing tumor cells. PH-762 has been shown to reduce the expression of PD-1, a protein that inhibits T cells' ability to kill cancer cells. When administered intratumorally in preclinical models PH-762 primes an anti-tumor immune response, and inhibits tumor growth. Phio is currently conducting a Phase 1b clinical trial of PH-762 for the treatment of advanced melanoma at the Gustave Roussy Institute, one of the largest cancer centers in Europe. Phio expects to commence a US Phase 1b clinical trial early in the 2nd half of 2023. The initial US trial is expected to focus on the treatment of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and other selected cutaneous malignancies, following successful regulatory review of the IND. "Therapeutic interventions for cSCC are limited, and there is increasing unmet medical need. As cSCC tumors comprise approximately 51% of the total incidence of solid tumors in the US, excluding basal cell cancers, we recognize the growing need for alternative therapies for cSCC," said Robert Bitterman, Phio's Principal Executive Officer and Executive Chairman. Mr. Bitterman has over 25 years of executive leadership experience in the pharmaceutical and biologic life science industry with a proven track record in operations, finance and investor relations. "While monoclonal antibody therapies are available for the treatment of cSCC, mechanistically they only block the interaction between PD-1 and PD-L1 on the cell surface. PH-762 also has the potential to address PD-1 inside the T cell, essentially further enhancing the activity of the T cell to kill the tumor cells," said Dr. James Cardia, Phio's Vice President of Scientific Operations. Dr. Cardia led the team that discovered INTASYL. "PH-762 has the potential to meet a significant medical need in patients who have failed to respond to mAbs, as well as those with resectable and metastatic solid tumors. Phio is committed to advancing the study of PH-762 to provide a meaningful therapy for patients with a broad range of solid tumors." Dr. Mary Spellman, Phio's Medical and Clinical Development Advisor About INTASYL INTASYL compounds are chemically modified siRNAs that are designed to provide efficient, spontaneous cellular uptake and potent, long lasting intracellular activity targeting a broad range of cell types and tissues. INTASYL drugs precisely target specific proteins that reduce the body's ability to fight cancer, without the need for specialized formulations or drug delivery systems. INTASYL has demonstrated preclinical efficacy in both Direct-to-Tumor and Adoptive Cell Therapy applications. In comparison to biologics and cell and gene therapies, INTASYL has a favorable pre-clinical toxicity and safety profile, and a streamlined chemical synthesis that reduces costs and offers substantial convenience to the prescriber and patient. Phio believes that INTASYL is the only self-delivering RNA interference technology focused on immuno-oncology therapeutics. About Phio Pharmaceuticals Phio Pharmaceuticals Corp. is a clinical stage biotechnology company whose proprietary INTASYL™ RNAi technology is designed to make immune cells more effective in killing tumor cells. Phio believes that INTASYL is the only self-delivering RNAi technology focused on immuno-oncology therapeutics. INTASYL drugs precisely target specific proteins that reduce the body's ability to fight cancer, without the need for specialized formulations or drug delivery systems.

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Spotlight

Data analytics in pharma has altered the way pharmaceuticals were a few years back. In the current era of industry 4.0, big data analytics compelled enterprises to make decisions discriminatively because Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning prove themselves.

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